This post is long and rambling. I go off on a lot of tangents and go into great detail about things that don't need it. So a pretty normal blog post for me when I'm having problems. I understand if this one is too dense to read; you can just read the one from Sunday instead. The main addition here is that it's more about past lives than kin type.
It hasn't gone away yet. I thought by now it would stop bothering me, but nope, the Changeling game from GenCon is still causing problems for me. It's only that though, really; the other GenCon issues have mostly gone away. It's just Peter, the character I played in the GenCon Changeling LARP. The beast has caught the scent of Peter and is starting to chase me down again, and it seems like it won't be long now until it catches up to me. So there are some things I need to do: I need to describe the cause, describe the issue, and consider what I might be able to do to solve the problem.
To describe the cause I need to describe Peter Boone. Heads up, this is going to be long. There’s a TL;DR version at the end of the paragraph. The backstory I was given doesn't say his age, but given the details that were included he's likely a teen. He's old enough to be past puberty completely, but young enough to still live at home with his father (no mother is mentioned). One day, he came out to his religious father, who “looked at [him] like [he] was a stranger.” Peter’s father rejected him, so Peter ran away. He had nowhere to go; he was homeless, sleeping under bridges and eating only what he could find. Eventually, he found another boy, with similar problems. They spent a night together, but that was when the evil Hegemon struck. She had been watching him. She played the song she chose for him, a real song called “Barton Hollow” by the Civil Wars. Soon, he was in her fae domain of Arcadia, and used as livestock to be chased by her dogs. He was kept in a stable with the others like him. Like them, he soon began to transform, into a jackalope as we decided. His arms grew as long as his legs, his neck began to crane, and he could tell that antlers would soon be coming if he stayed there any longer. So, along with many others who had been captured by the Hegemon, he planned an escape. Enacting this escape plan was the LARP itself. He soon formed an unlikely group within the larger group: himself, one of the dogs who always chased him, a grim woman responsible for cutting up bodies, an air elemental, and others.
TL;DR version: He came out to his religious father, who reacted very negatively. He ran away from home, and was soon captured by the evil Hegemon and brought to her realm. There he was kept in a stable and chased constantly by her dogs. He began to transform into a jackalope, but wasn't too far into his transformation when he and a number of other diverse captured and transformed people planned an escape.
I've been thinking about this a lot, and at first, I wasn't sure why this was affecting me. His situation is nothing like my own, outside of the forced transformation. And even then, he was barely transformed, and not my kin type at all. Granted, the way we were RPing was as if he was further transformed, but still, it made little sense. If anything, his pre-transformation backstory hit me harder; like some other people in the LARP, I nearly cried when reading it. But eventually I realized that it is the problem: I think the Pre-TF backstory made me emotionally vulnerable, and that in turned opened me up to the TF part causing The Annoying Feeling. And the more things during that period of time that upset me, the more the beast was able to keep up with me. That's why the other stuff has mostly faded, but Peter is still on my mind.
There's also this question of jealousy of fictional characters that often comes up related to TUF or even TAF. And since most Changeling games take place after the character has escaped and taken control of their transformations, that's often a factor. But there's nothing enviable about Peter’s life through the actual game. His backstory is sad, and his escape difficult. The only thing to be jealous of, I figured, was that at least he was partially non-human for a while, maybe? But he did also have an adventure, even if he didn't contribute much to the escape. And given the non-kin related things that were getting me upset, that probably plays a role too. The emotions get all mixed together, but the beast is focused on the transformation/kin aspect, and that's what sticks. Because outside of being gay, Peter is nothing like me. I identified more with Zapzap, honestly. And while it's very possible that his story would stick with me even without the TF aspect, I know from experience that part is a big deal for me. Maybe it's only bad because I expected it to be, I don't know, but it doesn't really matter.
That's the cause pretty completely explained, so what is the issue? I'm going to call it The Annoying Feeling, which is when I have the same symptoms of TUF but not nearly as strongly. Every once in a while, though, it does peak very close to full on TUF. And for those keeping score at home, that's bad. What it ends up being, observably, is something of an obsession with Peter. Thinking about his backstory, his situation, his future. It's not even the overwhelming urge to not be human, which is why I won't call it TUF, but it feels similar. I've never had TAF where there was so little of the transformation aspect to go on;it's weird. The symptoms are the same as every other time, but the specifics are different. Usually it turns into a desire to get closer to my kin type, which is definitely happening, but it's also I think a desire to be in that world. And that's interesting. Because the World of Darkness (the setting that includes Changeling and its sister games) is, as the name suggests, not pleasant. So why do I want to be there?
Well, maybe it's because it's close to the world I once lived in. And maybe that part of me wants to be back in that world. Why, though, would I want to go back to such a terrible world? Well, I think extrapolating from Peter’s experiences can help figure that out. What he went through was horrible,but ultimately I would argue that his time in Arcadia made his life better in the long run. He's back home now, and now he has friends. People who accept him for who he is, and who have gone through the same things he has. A new family, a better family than the one he lost. Maybe, again, that's similar to my experience in a past life. And maybe that part of me is yearning for that past life. A life during which I was transformed by force, and it ended up making my life better. Or, it could be that empathy again. If I went through an experience like this in a past life, maybe going through it again in the realm of role play has made that part of me cry out in pain. Maybe, even though every part of me knows he's fictional, I see Peter as a kindred spirit.
There's another thing that I haven't really shared much before, which adds more credence to the idea that my transformation in a past life was the Changeling kind of transformation. The kind of forced transformation story that often hits me the most, completely outside of the kin element, is the idea of someone being transformed to be used. Treated like an animal, or worse, an object. It doesn't matter what they're being transformed into; if someone's being transformed to be used, it affects me a lot. How much can vary, but it almost always does.
That, in a series of random tangents, is the problem. So the last question is, how can I solve (or at least mitigate) the problem? Well, usually it's a matter of feeling closer to my kin type. Galloping, wearing my cosplay animal parts, writing relevant stories, playing relevant games, and so on. And some of that I will do; I plan to finally buy some costume horns in the near future, for example. But ultimately, this time it's not about my kin type so much; it's more about connecting to and learning about my past life. Because, as I started saying before GenCon, the fanciful theory that I was a victim of forced transformation in a past life has become my main theory. I don't believe it to be the case 100% but it's gone from interesting fringe theory to more of a belief. And if it is the case, obviously something about playing Changeling touched on the buried memories of that past life.
In this case, writing relevant stories and playing relevant games are still good coping mechanisms, and I do plan on writing something from this. Beyond that, though, I need to keep meditating and everything to learn more about this past life. Maybe if I can understand the past life better, it will be easier to deal with.
Once again a post has gotten much longer than intended, and its purpose has changed over the time I took writing it. Writing helps me figure these things out, hence all the blog posts.
The lyrics in this title are among my most obscure; even many fans of the band don't know this song. They come from "Shattered" by Adema. It might ring a bell to fans of Mortal Kombat.
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